Who is the world’s best giant slalom skier?
It might not be the man they call Mr. GS, the Olympic champion Ted Ligety.
Austrian Marcel Hirscher won for the second time in three giant slalom races this World Cup season, beating second-place Ligety by a comfortable 1.22 seconds under the lights in Are, Sweden, on Friday. German Stefan Luitz was third.
“He blew us all away,” Ligety said of Hirscher.
Hirscher, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, became the 13th man to reach 25 career World Cup wins, tying with Norwegian rival Aksel Lund Svindal on the all-time list.
Hirscher is one win behind legend and countryman Franz Klammer to reach the top 10. The all-time leader is Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86.
“Cool,” Hirscher said.
Ligety, who won his 24th career World Cup race in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, is the two-time reigning World Cup giant slalom season champion. Hirscher finished second to Ligety in both of those years, including last season, when Ligety won the season title by .01 of a second in the final race and on a points tiebreaker.
But now it is Hirscher who leads the World Cup giant slalom standings with 260 points to Ligety’s 206. (Addition: It should be noted that Ligety is skiing with a broken wrist, surgically repaired with four screws in his hand three weeks ago.)
“My hand’s not perfect,” Ligety said. “I definitely avoid hitting gates with it and putting it on the snow, but otherwise I don’t really think about it when I’m skiing.”
The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom in Are on Sunday.